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Providence Tomorrow


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You know, it could be argued that the overnight onstreet parking ban is the single most detrimental thing to Providence's urbanness right now. It really pisses me off.

I agree that you could make that argument, but you could also make the argument that high density development in conjunction with a parking ban and its equitable and consistent enforcement, our car tax, high insurance cost, and Providence's compactness would provide an incentive for people to seek reliance on other transportation modes which would reduce the need for more spaces (obviously, RIPTA and the creation of 24-hour neighborhoods where people feel safe walking at all hours would be a huge part of this).

I think a big part of Providence Tomorrow will be identifying the high growth areas of the city that can support high-density, multi-family residences. Building out Downcity and the new Waterfront area are two of many options. That said, all Providence neighborhoods should be able to support a broad mix of housing options. The challenge will be identifying where multi-family residences make sense and creating a parking policy to accommodate it. More residences in Neighborhood Business Districts on major bus lines would be an option here.

The point is, in my opinion, the parking ban can be turned from a negative into a positive if we as a city can reduce the demand for automobile traffic as opposed to increasing the supply of parking spaces. Those who view this goal cynically (not pointing fingers here...just speaking in general terms) should know that Rhode Island transit users once numbered over 100 million people as recently as 1951, and we need to think in terms that the Providence of tomorrow will not necessarily be similar to the Providence of today (and its corresponding need for parking).

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the parking ban is a detriment to the city, no matter how you look at it, as is the high car tax. it makes providence unattractive to visitors (what are people who live in the city supposed to do with their friends who visit them by car? tell them to pay $30+ to park for a weekend in a parking garage? tell them to park at the end of a commuter rail line and take the train in and stay for the week? that's not likely and not a good way to handle that situation.

the automobile, no matter how much some people on this site and many new urbanists hate it, is an important part of most people's lives and it will be nearly impossible to change that. so until providence is manhattan-like, i don't think the high car tax or parking ban can ever be considered a positive in this city.

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Honestly, we have all these wide roads, especially on the East Side, yet they are all empty pavement at night, while we smash cars into paved back lots or in between triple deckers. I am in no way for increasing parking supply, but rather shifting it from backyards onto the street where it belongs.

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flickr now has the ability to do geotagging. go to organize and select map at the top. you can put your pictures on a map to show where they were taken.

i only did this with my pics of providence (aside from the house i live in) so far because i don't know where most of my other pics were from exactly.

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  • 3 weeks later...

We have a few threads with regard to retail in Providence and what we want retail stores to look like. I couldn't quite decide where to put this, so please excuse if there is a better location.

This weekend I spent some time walking around boston and noticing how some of the more typically suburban style stores (at least in RI) urbanize for boston.

Here are a few examples taken around the Copley Square area.

Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS):

Picture012.jpg

Walgreens:

Picture011.jpg

and my favorite,

Shaws:

Picture017.jpg

...some great street-tree action, too.

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oh my... if only providence could look like that. the eagle square shaws could have easily been built that way... and if we got an urban EMS (which would be nice for one of the mall spaces on the street) and that walgreens... completely shocking!

why can't the same businesses do that in providence?

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oh my... if only providence could look like that. the eagle square shaws could have easily been built that way... and if we got an urban EMS (which would be nice for one of the mall spaces on the street) and that walgreens... completely shocking!

why can't the same businesses do that in providence?

Because the number of pedestrians walking down Boylston/Huntingdon streets in a given day very much exceeds anything that Providence can do, and because there is a large enough neighborhood population that doesn't use cars. There is a very large market that the retailers want to hit and the city can tell them that if they want to have these prime locations they have to design accordingly.

Providence needs to get a critical mass of people out of their cars in order to start getting things like this.

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why can't the same businesses do that in providence?

As was pointed out, the pedestrian critical mass isn't there. But it's a chicken and egg thing... Why walk when nothing serves you?

This kind of development won't happen until the city zones to force it to happen. Want to open a new Shaws in Providence? You've got to play by the following rules...

That's why the upcoming zoning revisions will be so important...

- Garris

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alright Folks, the moment you've been waiting for- On behalf of the Providence Department of Planning and Development, I'm pleased to announce that the Providence Tomorrow charrette is upon us!

Here's the notice we put on our website:

Mayor David N. Cicilline and the city council invite you

Providence Tomorrow

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oh, i thought i'd throw something out there. the city is looking at the pics we took and tagged on flickr. i had taken a picture of the corner of eaton st and elmhurst ave where there was a sign missing. thom deller commented on the pic on flickr saying what street it was (elmhurst ave). anyways, i was walking by there yesterday and they put up a new sign. :thumbsup:

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and who is the charrette manager......?

The charrette manager is a team of consultants from the mid west who were selected through an rfp process. The planning staff picked this team based on their ability to quickly under stand the issues in the city and to developed execrises to draw out discussion. Many groups wanted an unknown consultant so that the manager could start with an open mind and evaluate what all have to say. We are confident that the manager will run a good charrette, however, the success will depend on people coming and sharing their thoughts on where the city should grow and what that growth should look like. Hope to see you there.

As a final comment, I need to say that I am very proud of what the planning staff has done to develop a process that is open and inviting to all. They have worked very hard in developing the approach to "Providence Tomorrow" and have done a great job building this first charrette. Hope to see you all during the week.

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I couldn't load ProvidenceTomorrow, but I got in the back way.

http://www.providenceplanning.org/matriarc...orComprPlanning

I spoke to Thom a couple weeks ago about the planning department's website and he said they are connected to the city wirelessly via the Public Safety Department's system. If something goes wrong with the Public Safety Department's servers, the planning department is the last priority on fixing it. Planning is trying to get connected to the city via fiber optics, I'm not sure what the hold up is on that.

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